Clare Fischer “First Time Out” (1962)

Track Selection: Nigerian Walk


Clare Fischer (p) Gary Peacock (b) Gene Stone (d) recorded April 1962 by Richard Bock for Pacific Jazz.

I had overlooked Clare Fischer for the same reason I initially overlooked Tina Brooks. Jazz is men’s work, you can’t have girly bebop. Turned out Tina was a corruption of his childhood nickname Tiny, and Clare Fischer is a man evidenced by that sculpted beard and moustache. A lot to learn, setting out on the jazz journey.


Down Beat awarded Fischer’s trio five stars. The Gramophone wrote of the trio: “Fischer is that comparatively rare figure in jazz, a writer with considerable instrumental technique…the most mature and intelligent keyboard jazz since the last Bill Evans LP

Ooops, the name Bill Evans was bound to crop up. Comparison is inevitable. The combination of Gary Peacock’s bass and Fischer’s piano is definitely reminiscent of Evans and La Faro, though in a good way. If you like Evans, you will almost certainly enjoy Fischer. He later went on to be mainly a studio professional, but at this time Fischer was working firmly within Bill Evan’s orbit of the piano trio as three autonomous musicians, and not  piano with rhythm section.

Back to Gramophone: “Gary Peacock plays so brilliantly throughout this record that the LP would be worth the price just for his work alone. Peacock is certainly one of the most amazing bass players to arrive during the last decade; when taking solos he shows a predilection for upper register notes, but these are played perfectly in tune. The drummer, Gene Stone, is swift and efficient”  So no Paul Motian then.

Vinyl: Fontana 688 124 ZL black and silver Fontana label, pressing by Decca

UK 1st release of Pacific Jazz PJ/PJS 52, produced by the excellent Richard Bock for his West Coast label. Bock had clear ideas what jazz should sound like, and delivered here a clearly superior recording in which each member of the trio has a credible physical presence. Decca were no slouches either, with quality pressing which retains the rich dynamic range essential when such contrasting instruments as piano acoustic bass and drums are on the stage.

(Note to myself – to add matrix photo)

Collectors Corner

Following recent success in sticker removal, I set my sites in the cover’s Downbeat five-star award sticker, only to find it is printed photographically as part of the cover. So it gets to stay.

Fischer is nowhere near as collectible as Bill Evans with his Kamikaze following weighed down by bulging cheque books. With Fischer being  somewhat underrated, you get thoughtful great sounding music at a very modest price. Even if his name is “Clare”.

9 thoughts on “Clare Fischer “First Time Out” (1962)

  1. After reading your post, I noticed a record I would not otherwise have paid a second thought to. It was an album featuring Clare Fischer on the Yamaha EX-42 (precursor to the GX-1 “Dream Machine” famously used by Stevie Wonder on “Songs in the Key of Life”):

    I wasn’t brave enough to take the plunge into early 70s synth-jazz, however…

    • I find electric pianos painful, and it’s a lot too recent for me, but listening through to some of the samples, I confess there are bits of the Lee Konitz type alto solos I quite enjoyed. And Fischer is a very capable improviser. Its the Devils Work I tell you. Thats three Hail Marys for me

    • Found out the hard way huh? Lets not go there. I once worked with a very dedicated surgeon who wanted to start a blog on his professional interest, colo-rectal sugery. It took a lot of time to explain what Google web-crawlers would make of his subject header.

  2. I got this record (same pressing, sounds beautiful) a couple of weeks back. The first track is fantastic. I’m a big fan of Gary Peacock so it’s nice to hear him get a lot of solo space. He must have been very young when this was recorded.

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